05/27/16 Mixed Marriages

READING: Nehemiah 10-11 

This devotion is about marriage, which may surprise you in the middle of a study of the book of Nehemiah — but this book addresses that issue, too. 

In a world that is continually redefining marriage, I trust that believers will stand on the Word of God as our source for understanding what marriage is intended to be. I assume (perhaps naively) that we will affirm that marriage is designed for a man and a woman only, and then for a man and woman who remain in the gender of their birth. Compromise on this institution will lead only to trouble. 

At the same time that we stand for these truths, I think we too often fail to recognize the dangers of another problem in marriage: a believer marrying a non-believer. The Old Testament passages relating to the Israelites don’t always have direct parallels to us, but the warnings against the Hebrews marrying pagan spouses still bear some relevance to us. When the Hebrews intermarried with non-followers of Yahweh, the result was often that the influence of one spouse on the other went only one way: the non-followers pulled the people of God into sin and paganism. Indeed, Nehemiah would later show that the children of such marriages lost their spiritual heritage as a result (Neh 13:23-24). It’s no wonder, then, that within the Israelite confession and covenant renewal of Nehemiah 10 was this commitment: “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons” (Neh 10:30).  

Simply stated, a believer’s choosing to marry a non-believer (2 Cor 6:14) is a recipe for ongoing difficulty. The marriage will lack a common foundation, and the children will receive a divided heritage. It’s just tough to build a united home when the husband and wife are living for different purposes and headed in different directions. We would do well for our teens and young adults if we teach them this truth before they make wrong choices. 


  • If you are married to a non-believer, take this opportunity to pray again for his/her salvation. Do not give up on God’s saving power.   
  • Pray for other members of your church who may be in a believer/non-believer relationship.     

PRAYER: “God, thank You for marriage. Make our marriages holy — and help those of us who are single to make wise choices in the future.”     

TOMORROW’S READING:  Nehemiah 12-13


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